Feeding The Fat-Prone Bulldog
Feed your Bulldog for good health and to prevent obesity.
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Those Recommended Food Amounts
Don't feel bad if you're giving your Bulldog less than even the lowest recommended amount on the food label. Its okay! Explains Dr. Rogers, The food labels give a range around the mean (i.e., intermediate, a value that lies within a range of values) where 80 to 90 percent of the dogs will fall, so that's the best place to start. But if you're feeding the recommended amount and your dog is too fat, feed less. Even the bottom end of the recommended allowance may be too much for some dogs. There is no magic answer for a specific dog. You must feed it for a while, track its weight, and see how much it takes. If you're unsure or uncomfortable about making reductions in serving size, work with your veterinarian to develop a diet plan.
Because weight loss requires calorie reduction, you can cut your Bulldogs calories by either reducing portions of the food you are already feeding your dog or switching to a reduced-calorie dog food. Whichever way you go, check your dogs ribs or weigh your dog every other week. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine a proper feeding protocol for your dog. After two weeks on its new diet program, you should notice some difference. As long as its losing a little bit of weight, continue with your program. If your dog hasn't lost any weight or hits an extended plateau with its weight loss, cut back portions by another 10 to 20 percent, and keep checking every two weeks. Once you are able to feel its ribs and see that waistline tuck in, you can maintain the diet at that level.
Restricting portions: For reducing portions, Chuck Keiser, D.V.M., CEO of Heartland Veterinary Hospital in Danville, Kentucky, recommends cutting portions back to about 75 percent of the label amount and then adding about 30 percent in the form of fresh or raw vegetables. For example, if you're giving your dog one cup of kibble per meal, cut it down to 3⁄4 cup kibble and 1⁄3 cup veggies. If your Bulldog has never eaten vegetables before, it may not like them, but once its hungry enough, it'll eat them! And lets face it, a dog that receives less than its accustomed amount of food is probably going to be a hungry dog.
However, some veterinarians believe that no more than 10 to 15 percent of total calories should come from sources other than the pet food.
Weight-control diets: Diet formulas have fewer calories than regular dog foods, so you should be able to feed the same portion of diet food that your dog is used to eating and still shave off calories. That's because weight-loss formulas have more fiber and less fat, which helps fill the dog up on fewer calories.
For obesity-prone dogs, Dr. Rogers suggests selecting a dog food labeled for maintenance as opposed to one labeled for all life stages because it probably has a lower caloric density, that is, fewer calories per cup.
Because there is no true standard of what comprises light or weight-loss formulas, pay attention to the labels and compare the Guaranteed Analysis of one brand to another. Remember, lower fat means fewer calories, so check the label for those with lower fat percentages. Either a high-fiber/low-fat diet or a high-protein/low-fat food will help keep the dog satisfied with fewer calories, Dr. Rogers says.
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